By Mr. Aaron P Talley (IMCOM)May 9, 2017
VERONA, Italy -- The Verona Legend Cars trade show features all types of four-wheeled vehicles from many different eras. This year, it also featured some vehicles that aren't quite "street legal."
Soldiers from Vicenza, Italy, and Baumholder, Germany, brought two of the largest and two of the smallest vehicles to the show. Engineers from 173rd Airborne Brigade brought two massive, armored, route-clearance vehicles. And the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, working with U.S. Army Africa, brought two EOD robots.
Jeff A. Gliedman, USARAF Counter-IED Branch Chief, was there to lead the EOD display team. He said he hopes attendees will learn about the equipment and skillset of the EOD Soldiers, which allows them to accomplish their mission while also training their counterparts in host nation forces of Africa.
"This is an opportunity to message (to the Italian community) just one piece of what USARAF does with our African partners on the continent," Gliedman said.
Staff Sgt. Ryan T. Essenmacher, NCOIC of the EOD team, said this was a chance to show how his group is a force multiplier in the fight against terrorists in Africa.
"With U.S. Army Africa, what we are doing is providing subject-matter expertise and training to partner nation forces to help enable them to mitigate explosive hazards for themselves."
Essenmacher said it's also easier to reach an audience like those at the car show when they have interesting equipment like the EOD robots that participants can try out for themselves. They also brought an 87-pound bomb suit, which attendees were able to try on.
"Everyone loves the chance to drive the robot," he said. "We've had several people try on the bomb suit. It brings people over here, gets them engaged and talking."
Those conversations will hopefully lead to a better understanding of what U.S. Army Africa is doing to make Italy and Europe safer by fighting terrorists on the African continent.